‘Mr. Robot’ Creator on Show’s Twists: ‘I’m Not Interested in Gotcha Moments’

TCA 2016: Sam Esmail, Rami Malek and Christian Slater discuss Season 1’s shocking finale

Mr. Robot” pulled a whopper of a shocking twist on its audience in Season 1, but creator Sam Esmail said shocking fans is not his primary goal.

“I’m not interested in gotcha moments or trying to shock the audience,” the executive producer said during the show’s panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “Even though it happens, I think it really happens because Rami [Malek] really plays Elliot in a way that draws you into his psyche. So you’re learning it with him. As long as that’s organic, as long as that feels real, the twists will come from there. It’s not my agenda to keep shocking you.”

Mr. Robot” stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater also revealed they knew about the twist — that Slater’s titular character was an apparition inside the head of Elliot, Malek’s role, the whole time — early on.

“I read the pilot and I had questions about it,” Slater said. “I thought the Mr. Robot character was very mysterious and I remember going to my agent and saying, ‘Do you think that guy’s really there?’ And he went, ‘Oh come on, they would never do that.’ And then I had my first meeting with Sam, and he said, ‘Do you really want to know?’ And he gave me the whole outline of the first season.”

“I knew very early on, even before the pilot,” added Malek. “I thought it was really cool and just hoped we could keep it a secret. Which was difficult at times when you’re on set and you’re telling other actors, ‘just try not to look at [Christian]. You get enough actors on set in front of this crew and you’re trying to convince them there’s some other reason you can’t look at him, people start to get suspicious.”

Mr. Robot” has been renewed for Season 2 with 10 episodes, which Esmail will direct.

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